While the mother duck appears to be doing fine sitting on the eggs, four of the eggs in the clutch disappeared. I'm not sure what happened, but I think rats are the most likely suspects. Fortunately, I had collected eggs from the nest about five or six days before the mother duck started sitting. I had taken them down to the bee store to give them to a friend with a broody hen. Since the friend didn't come by to pick up the eggs, I added about 7 of the newer eggs to the nest. I was concerned that if any more eggs disappeared the mother might give up. In the mean time I put out some more rat poison. The duck pen is fairly secure so I'm not sure what else could have gotten in the pen to take the eggs. Anyhow, we now have ten eggs in the clutch, with June 28 being D-day (duckling day) for the seven eggs I added.
Rats seem to be a perpetual problem when you have poultry feeders. I seem to have to poison them off on a regular basis. I usually put the poison down their holes and put a rock over it to make sure nothing else gets a hold of the poison. I was hoping our new barn cat would make a big difference, but I've yet to see him bring in a rat. I put his feed out in the goat barn to make sure he visits the barn at least once a day. I haven't seen any rats at the goat barn, but he hasn't made much difference around the duck pen.
Rachel worked at the bee store today so I spent the day weeding, mowing lawns, and painting bee equipment. At the end of the day our strawberry beds are pretty well weeded and the lawns aren't in bad shape. However, there is still a lot of beehive parts that need painting. Lance helped me paint for a while, but he is only good for about ten minutes of painting when it isn't raining. I'm trying to get all of my stuff repainted as we are hosting the bee club picnic at our house this year. I don't want my beehives to look junky. The reason we are holding the picnic at our house is that Rachel decided we needed to have a beebeard contest at the picnic. It sounds like a fun time, but they frown on activities like that at public parks.
I also drove up to Marysville this afternoon with Lance and picked up an elk hide from Quil Ceda Tanning. The untanned hide was a gift from Bob Hazelbrook, a bee store customer who is a serious hunter. I paid to have it tanned with the plan being to make some moccasins with it.